From the Mercury News: The University of California will pay up to $210,000 for an independent investigation into a recent state audit that accused the system of failing to disclose hundreds of millions of dollars and tampering with a survey sent to UC campuses that was supposed to remain confidential.
According to a contract obtained by this news organization, UC will pay the law firm Hueston Hennigan “at the blended rates of $595 per hour for partners and $395 for associates. Your total fees are not to exceed $165,000 for this matter, without prior written approval.” The firm will contract with former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno “at an additional fee not to exceed $45,000.”
The contract notes that in “a departure from past practice, overages will only be granted in extraordinary circumstances.”
That last part is crucial, because the audit found that UC has been less than transparent about how it spends taxpayer money.
The audit also showed that some campuses changed responses to what were supposed to be confidential surveys about how the UC Office of the President operates after talking to that office about those surveys. Emails obtained by this news organization and others seem to indicate some of those responses were changed at the direction of officials in the central office. The Board of Regents that oversees UC has asked the law firm and Moreno to look into it.
According to the contract, “This independent fact-finding mission will involve a thorough and complete discovery and evaluation of any facts related to the State Auditor’s allegations that the UCOP interfered with the Auditor’s efforts through purported involvement with the completion of responses to campus-wide surveys.”
UC is asking for an investigation into whether there was interference, if so, why, and who did it. While the audit has sparked calls even among some Democrats for Janet Napolitano, UC’s president, to step down, the regents have generally supported her leadership.
The contract does not specify when the fact-finding mission should conclude, but asks Hueston Hennigan and Moreno to “use their best efforts to provide this report by as soon as practicable.”